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All The Colors of Giallo (2019)

Severin Films
Blu-ray Disc Released: 1/29/2019

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Review by Mike Long, Posted on 1/30/2019

 

There are a lot of great things about modern technology, but for movie fans, the advances in home video has been one of the best.  Long gone are the days when one would hope to find a way to see a movie.  Now, with physical media, streaming, and on-line ordering of obscure films, itís easy to access a huge catalog of cinematic pleasures.  Because of this, there may have been a decrease in people researching films.  There was a time when you could only read about hard-to-find movies (I had a bookcase filled with movie books).  But, today, you can simply go watch them.  However, there are still those who like to learn about movies as well as watch them, which is why documentaries like All the Colors of Giallo are appreciated.

 

Movie Historian Fabio Melelli (Sergio Leone e il western all'italiana, tra mito e storia, Kiss kiss...Bang bang. Il cinema di Duccio Tessari) hosts the documentary, starting with an overview of Giallo films, starting with the books which serve as the origin of the sub-genre, and also looking at Krimi, the German cousin of Giallo.  From there the piece explores the history of Giallo films (while not always sticking to a chronological order), and profiling some of the masters of the genre.  Beginning with Mario Bava (Blood and Black Lace, A Bay of Blood), the documentary looks at Dario Argento (The Bird with the Crystal Plumage, Deep Red), Lucio Fulci (Donít Torture a Duckling, The Psychic), Luciano Ercoli (Death Walks on High Heels, Death Walks at Midnight), and Sergio Martino (All the Colors of the Dark, Torso, The Case of the Scorpionís Tail).  We also hear from Screenwriters Biagio Proietti (Death Occurred Last Night), Dardano Sacchetti (The Psychic), and Erensto Gastaldi (The Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh).  In addition, actresses Daria Nicolodi (Deep Red, Tenebrae) and Edwige Fenech (The Case of the Bloody Iris) also shares their thoughts.  These speakers (who always seem to appear in front of bookcases) talk about their experiences on the films and how the films were accepted.

 

A documentary like this has to be evaluated on two levels Ė for those who are familiar with the genre and for those who arenít.  For those who arenít, there will be a lot of to learn here.  The piece begins with a warning of spoilers, but there arenít that many here.  In addition to the history lesson, commentary, and interviews listed above, we do get a wealth of film clips here, although some, such as The Bird with the Crystal Plumage, only have footage from the trailers.  These clips obviously help to illustrate the content and demonstrate that while a description of the genre may make it sound somewhat narrow, there is a degree of diversity amongst the films. 

 

For those who are familiar with the genre (as I apparently am, given the number of these movies Iíve reviewed), All the Colors of Giallo will be a mixed bag.  Thereís no doubt that itís fun to see what is still a relatively obscure group of movies being celebrated like this and itís a treat to count how many of them you have seen.  But, if you are a devotee of the sub-genre, there may not be much new information here for you, especially if youíve watched the extra features on home video releases of the films which are profiled.  Most of the interviews here are new, but the not all of the anecdotes are.  The interviews do have one thing going for them Ė given the time elapsed since the films were made, most of the speakers are quite candid in their viewpoints and arenít afraid to throw some of their co-workers under the bus!

 

Still, if you are a Giallo-obsessed Italian-film fan, then All the Colors of Giallo will be a no-brainer for you, especially when the overall package of the documentary and the features is taken into account.  The documentary may not offer any ground-breaking moments, but itís true respect for the genre, depth of information, and obvious love for the movies makes for an entertaining watch.

 

All the Colors of Giallo should have explained how all of these Italian filmmakers have lived so long on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of Severin Films.  The film has been letterboxed at 1.78:1 and the Disc contains an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 27 Mbps.  The image quality, as one would expect, is decidedly mixed.  The interviews done for this project are all razor-sharp and crystal-clear, showing good colors and no defects.  The film clips shown vary greatly in quality, with some looking pristine and others showing grain and mild defects.  The Disc carries a DTS-HD Master Audio Mono track which runs at 48 kHz and a constant 1.7 Mbps.  Being a Mono track on a documentary, we donít get any dynamic effects here, but the interviewees are always clear and intelligible and the film clips donít have any hissing or popping.  The English subtitles are easy to read.

 

The All the Colors of Giallo Blu-ray Disc contains several extras.  This kicks off with ďThe Giallo FramesĒ (20 minutes) an interview with John Martin the editor of Giallo Pages, (Who is joined by a rather creepy friend in the interview.), where he discusses his view on the genre.  ďGiallothonĒ is a four-hour (yes, you read that right) reel of trailers from giallo films, which can be viewed with AUDIO COMMENTARY from Kat Ellinger, the author of All the Colors of Sergio Martino.  The DVD included in this set is entitled ďThe Case of the KrimiĒ (German works similar to Giallo).  ďKriminal!Ē (91 minutes) is a compilation of trailers from these films.  This also includes an interview with film historian Marcus Stiglegger (24 minutes) who gives an overview of the genre.  A third disc found in this package offers music from Giallo films.

 

Review Copyright 2019 by Mike Long